Local MP Antony Higginbotham has backed the Chancellor’s plans to keep more doctors in the NHS by changing pension rules which penalise those with the most experience.
Levies applied to pension contributions have in recent years seen increasing numbers of consultants and other senior doctors forced to reduce their working hours or take early retirement in order to avoid being charged for working.
The new changes, which have come following years of campaigning by the British Medical Association, mean that a significant number of senior doctors will no longer be subjected to punitive tax rules regarding how much they accrue within their pensions.
Burnley’s MP has previously spoken about the need to train more doctors locally, calling for an expansion to the training places at Burnley UCLan's newest facility.
Speaking after a vote in Parliament on retaining those doctors already working within the NHS, Antony Higginbotham MP said:
I’ve spoken before about training up more doctors locally, because I know how important it is for people in Burnley and Padiham to be able to get an GP appointment, or have their operation carried out.
But the focus doesn’t have to just be on training. It should also be on removing the rules which effectively force doctors to either retire early, or work for free. And that’s exactly what is happening.
After agreeing that this policy will 'save lives' helping with NHS retention just a few months ago, Labour have sadly done their usual flip flop and now voted against it. They can’t seem to come up with any policy where their position won’t change. Add to this that Sir Keir Starmer himself benefits from a one-man ‘tax unregistered’ pension scheme that gives him the same benefits, and the Labour hypocrisy is just astounding. If it’s good enough for him, why isn’t it good enough for doctors at Burnley Hospital?”
We need to hold on to our most senior doctors across Burnley and Padiham, and train more, if we’re to bring down the backlog and deliver the appointments that residents rightly expect. That’s why I backed these plans.
Doctors’ groups, including the British Medical Association, have backed the change overwhelmingly, predicting that the overhaul will close the floodgates of doctors retiring early.
Only last year a British Medical Association survey found that out of 8000 doctors, 44 per cent intended to leave their roles ‘in some capacity’ over the next 12 months due to the pension rules.
Speaking on behalf of the British Medical Association. Dr. Vish Sharma said:
The scrapping of the lifetime allowance will be potentially transformative for the NHS as [the majority of] senior doctors will no longer be forced to retire early and can continue to work within the NHS, providing vital patient care.